Five years ago, I discovered what is now my favorite metal band: Epica.
It's a Dutch band that blends the genres of gothic, symphonic, and progressive metal to create a distinctive sound.
Founded in 2002 by Mark Jansen, former member of After Forever, Epica started off strong as a unique symphonic metal band.
The band's albums all garnered positive feedback from critics both in Europe and the United States.
Though not well known in America, Epica is considered one of the great symphonic metal bands in Europe.
In a time when auto-tuning and the infamous "dubstep" appear to be taking over popular music, Epica's new release is like a breath of fresh air.
It is a band that always seems to be relevant, with each album providing a different yet profound message.
In the case of "Requiem for the Indifferent," the message revolves around the deterioration of the world and the indifference of the media-brainwashed masses.
Every song has meaningful lyrics all related to either apathy or advocacy, from the cautionary title song "Requiem for the Indifferent" to the more activist "Monopoly on Truth."
One of the more intense songs, "Internal Warfare," is based on the July 2011 terrorist attacks in Norway perpetrated by Labour Party extremist Anders Behring Breivik, which ended in 77 total deaths and 151 injuries. This song, like many others on this album provides a heavy, and often sad message about the state of our society.
As far as the music goes, this album reflects the classic Epica style: melodious female vocals, brutal death grunts, orchestra and choir, and a multilayered, meandering style of music.
The classical aspects of orchestra, choir, and operatic vocals blend nicely with standard gothic metal-a trademark for "Epica." Each song is modeled like a story, complete with exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution; there is never a dull moment, even in the ballads "Delirium" and "Deep Water Horizon."
Incidentally, my two favorite songs on the album are the two longest: "Monopoly on Truth" and "Serenade of Self-Destruction."
Both have the classic multilayered sound that combines soft classical music with brash metal, complete with singer Simone Simons' intense vocals.
In particular, "Serenade of Self- Destruction" provides the perfect ending to the album with lyrics that exude finality such as, "why won't you lie with me, my light's ending/ On a night when I find, I'll take my final flight."
The themes of death and acceptance of death are prevalent in this song as well, which suggests leaving this decaying world for a better one.
Whether it's political freedom, public indifference, or religious fundamentalism, each of Epica's albums provides a theme and a message that is relevant to today's world.
With this album, the message is that we should open our eyes to the destruction of the world before it is too late. This message is conveyed through songs about society, apathy, and cautionary tales.
These deep lyrics are backed by some of the best instrumentals I've ever heard, where it incorporates everything from orchestra to exotic instruments to electric guitars and drums.
This album only furthers my love for the band, because they're constantly changing; yet never straying from their classic sound. If they haven't already, fans of metal should definitely check out "Epica," especially this politically charged album.